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  • Alan Fong

The Advantage of Disadvantage

Today’s Verse:

But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; ~Philippians 1:12

Our devotion this morning centers on how God uses what appears to be difficulties and turns them into blessings. One noted preacher, J.H. Jowett, calls Philippians 1:12-14 “The Fortune of Misfortune.” If we are not careful, we might overlook opportunities that God gives us in obstacles. This morning, let us see the advantage of disadvantage.

We see the prisoner.

Philippians is one of the prison epistles of Paul. He speaks of “the things which happened unto me” and “my bonds.” Paul was a prisoner in Caesar’s palace. He was waiting for an opportunity to appeal and testify that he did nothing wrong or deserving of imprisonment. During his stay in Rome, he was shackled to two soldiers. The soldiers would rotate shifts every four hours. Though he had freedom to move around, he was continuously chained to two soldiers. Paul could view his chains as a grief, or he could view them as a gift. He could view them as restriction, or he could view them as a responsibility. Paul took advantage of his disadvantage.

We see the preacher.

Paul said, “That the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” Paul used his circumstances to witness to the soldiers assigned to him at every shift. The two soldiers on every shift had no choice but to listen and be engaged in conversation with Paul. As Paul shared with them his remarkable salvation testimony and about the death and resurrection of our Lord, soldier after soldier repented of his sins and, by faith, accepted Christ as Savior. Paul said that the ministry that God gave him resulted in the furtherance of the gospel. Like Paul, we must be willing and ready to adapt to our circumstances and creatively reach the unsaved with the gospel. One could say that Paul was out of his element if he was not planting churches. However, Paul recognized that he had a “captive audience” with the soldiers. He saw the advantage of disadvantage.

We see the proliferation.

“So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places….” Over a two-year period of time, Paul’s ministry in bonds spread far and wide. Not only were soldiers getting saved, but slaves, senators, and many other people who either